AmphibiaWeb - Boophis fayi


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Boophis fayi Köhler, Glaw, Rosa, Gehring, Pabijan, Andreone & Vences, 2011

Subgenus: Boophis
family: Mantellidae
subfamily: Boophinae
genus: Boophis
Species Description: Koehler J, Glaw F, Rosa GM, Gehring PS, Pabijan M, Andreone F, Vences M. 2011. Two new bright-eyed treefrogs of the genus Boophis from Madagascar. Salamandra 47: 207-221.

© 2012 J. Koehler (1 of 1)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Vulnerable (VU)
National Status None
Regional Status None
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Boophis fayi is a relatively small frog described from four males and one female. The adult males have a snout-vent length range of 30.7 - 33.9 mm and the adult female has a snout-vent length of 42.0 mm. This species has an overall slender body with a head that is longer than it is wide, but wider than the body. The snout appears pointed when viewed from above and rounded when viewed from the side. The nostrils point to the sides and are located closer to the end of the snout than to the eyes. The species has large eyes. Behind the eyes are clear, round tympanums that are approximately half the size of the eyes. The supratympanic fold is weak and barely visible. Boophis fayi has smooth skin across the body with the exception of a coarse, textured belly and tubercles around the cloaca. The forearms are slender with small dermal appendages on the elbow. The fingers are not clearly webbed, and the third finger is relatively longer than the other three fingers. The tips of the fingers have large discs. Like the forelimbs, the hind limbs are slender with clear dermal appendages on the heels. The toes have some webbing, and the fourth toe is relatively longer than the other four digits. The tips of the toes also have large discs (Köhler et al. 2011).

The most distinct morphological characteristic of B. fayi is the bright green iris with a turquoise margin around the outer edge of the eye, a notable difference from the typical red iris of other Boophis species, such as B. axelmeyeri, B. burgeri, B. popi, B. reticulatus, and B. rufioculis. This species has a weak supratympanic fold, lacking the strong, well-developed fold characteristic of other Boophis species. Boophis fayi can sometimes be distinguished by size given its relatively small body length within the large-bodied Boophis genus. Boophis fayi is smaller than B. brachychir, B. entingae, B. goudoti, B. obscurus, B. madagascariensis, B. periegetes, B. roseipalmatus, and B. spinophis and also differs by its green outer iris. Compared to the most closely related species B. boehmei and B. quasiboehmei, B. fayi is slightly larger and has a green outer iris, shorter back legs, and a distinct call (Köhler et al. 2011).

In life, B. fayi is light brown with large dark brown spots or speckling along the top and sides from the head to upper-back. Green speckling occurs irregularly in these areas as well. Green coloration occurs above the tympanum, on the tip of the snout, and around the nostrils. The iris is green and silver with a net-like pattern of black and brown, all outlined by a distinct black ring. The area of the eye surrounding the iris is bright turquoise lined by a blue margin. The belly of B. fayi is largely white to cream in color with translucent blue on the throat and translucent yellow towards the cloaca. White tubercles occur around the cloaca. Regions of the sides of the body and the dorsal portions of the toes are yellowish in color. The dorsal surface of the legs show dark brown banding while the ventral sides of the legs are yellowy-green. The tips of the dermal appendages on the elbows and heels are white. The toe discs are green and translucent (Köhler et al. 2011).

The overall pattern remained after the specimens were preserved for 15 months, although some distinct coloration and patterning on the dorsal surface of the body and legs faded. Boophis fayi remained largely brown with irregular cream-colored and darker brown speckles, including spotty cream coloration under the eye, on the upper lip, and lining the sides. The small white tubercles around the cloaca and a white line above the cloaca were present. The underside of B. fayi was plain, off-white without clear patterning. The dorsal side of the legs still had dark brown banding followed by dark brown mottling on the sides as they transition to the white coloration on the ventral side (Köhler et al. 2011).

Within B. fayi, variation can occur in the presence and extent of the dark brown markings, the green speckling, and the yellow coloration across the dorsum and sides of the body. Females are larger than males. The coloration is generally similar between the sexes, although females do not have the green shading or clearly visible dark markings on the dorsal side. The sides of the body are more yellow in females than in males, and the brown coloration on the dorsum is more uniform with reddish purple undertones. While the main colors of the eyes are the same, females have a more distinct difference between the bright green outer iris with black lines and the silver inner iris with reddish brown lines. The supratympanic fold is weak, but clearly visible in females, compared to the barely visible fold in males (Köhler et al. 2011).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Madagascar


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Boophis fayi has been found in two locations on the Northeast coast of Madagascar: Réserve Naturelle Intégrale de Betampona and Ambodivoahangy in the Makira region. Individuals are generally found at elevations between 300 - 400 meters at the former site and around 100 meters at the latter. The sites are separated by 250 kilometers of rainforest fragmented by logging and agriculture (Köhler et al. 2011). The species may inhabit some of these fragments between the two observation sites; however, surveys from several plausible habitat fragments in this region have not turned up any evidence of B. fayi (IUCN 2015).

Boophis fayi is found in low elevation rainforest habitats. This species prefers areas with secondary plant growth near slow moving freshwater such as swamps and streams (Köhler et al. 2011).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Like other Boophis species, B. fayi is nocturnal. This species is arboreal, dwelling on second-growth plants a few meters off of the ground (Köhler et al. 2011).

Two types of calls have been observed from B. fayi, dubbed call A and B. Call A is an advertisement call consisting of 1 to 3 notes lasting 100 to 370 milliseconds each. Calls with multiple notes have a long initial note followed by shorter notes with 181 to 266 ms of pause between each. The entire call lasts no longer than 1 second. The call has a frequency between 1000 and 8000 Hertz. Call B is a territorial call consisting of 1 - 2 click notes each lasting 8 to 11 ms. When two clicks are produced there is a 170 ms pause between each resulting in a total duration of around 200 ms. The call occurs at a frequency of 1000 to 7000 Hz. Calls of both types were heard in March and October at Betampona and early April near Makira. Due to limited observations this may not represent the full extent of their calling activity (Köhler et al. 2011).

Reproductive behavior has not been observed, but B. fayi is presumed to have a larval stage (IUCN 2015).

Trends and Threats
The population of Boophis fayi is thought to be decreasing and considered “Vulnerable” by the IUCN Red List because of its estimated small, threatened range. Major factors contributing to this decline are habitat loss and reduced habitat quality. Habitat loss is being driven by anthropogenic activities such as the logging of timber, the production of charcoal, and the expansion of urban housing development. Much of the remaining habitat is being taken over by agricultural crops, livestock grazing and burning of fields, and invasive eucalyptus plants. As a result of both habitat loss and reduced habitat quality, the population is also severely fragmented (IUCN 2015).

The only protected area where B. fayi is observed is in Réserve Naturelle Intégrale de Betampona in Madagascar. It is presumed to also live under the protection of Makira Natural Park, although no data on this species has been collected there (IUCN 2015).

Relation to Humans
There is no evidence of B. fayi being used, consumed, collected, or considered a pest by humans (IUCN 2015).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Habitat fragmentation


Bayesian analysis of sequences from mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene fragments shows B. fayi as being sister to B. boehmei and possibly another undescribed Boophis species. The next most closely related species is B. popi (Köhler et al. 2011).

The species epithet “fayi” is in honor of Andreas Norbert Fay, who contributed to the BIOPAT initiative and his sponsorship of wildlife research and conservation (Köhler et al. 2011).

Boophis fayi was considered to be Boophis boehmei before being described in Köhler et al. 2011 and was referred to as Boophis sp. aff. boehmei in a CD of calls and booklet by Rosa et al. (2011).


IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2015). "Boophis fayi." The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T49459837A49459853. Accessed on 11 February 2022.

Köhler, J., Glaw, F., Rosa, G. M., Gehring, P. S., Pabijan, M., Andreone, F., Vences, M. (2011). "Two new bright-eyed treefrogs of the genus Boophis from Madagascar." Salamandra, 47(4), 207-221. [link]

Rosa, G. M., Márquez, R., Andreone, F. (2011) “The astonishing calls of the frogs of Betampona.” – Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali di Torino, Italy [CD and booklet].

Originally submitted by: Lee Burrows, Mason Rogers, Alex Garcia (2022-06-08)
Description by: Lee Burrows, Mason Rogers, Alex Garcia (updated 2022-06-08)
Distribution by: Lee Burrows, Mason Rogers, Alex Garcia (updated 2022-06-08)
Life history by: Lee Burrows, Mason Rogers, Alex Garcia (updated 2022-06-08)
Trends and threats by: Lee Burrows, Mason Rogers, Alex Garcia (updated 2022-06-08)
Relation to humans by: Lee Burrows, Mason Rogers, Alex Garcia (updated 2022-06-08)
Comments by: Lee Burrows, Mason Rogers, Alex Garcia (updated 2022-06-08)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2022-06-08)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Boophis fayi <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Feb 25, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 25 Feb 2024.

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